Archived News:

Wednesday, Sep 30, 2009

Machinarium Demo

A playable demo for Machinarium is now available, providing the chance to check out a sample of this puzzle/adventure game from Amanita Design (Samorost). The demo offers the first three challenges from the full game. The 32 MB download is available from AtomicGamer and Big Download.

CoH Double XP & Account Reactivation

The City of Heroes Website announces plans to hold a double XP weekend running from Thursday October 8 though Sunday October 11. Word is: "All participating Hero and Villain characters will receive double the XP, Influence, and Infamy for their accomplishments in game." They are also using the occasion to invite back former players for a look-see, saying, "all inactive accounts in good standing will also be given access to City of Heroes and City of Villains during the Double XP weekend!"

MW2 Map Pack in Spring 2010

Destructoid has news that a Modern Warfare 2 map pack is due in spring 2010, learning this on energy drink cans, of all things, as the information was on a four-pack of MW2 co-branded Monster Energy drinks that will eventually be in stores to help promote the game. There are no further details, but Activision tells them they will be forthcoming soon. They also report Sam's Club will exclusively offer six-packs of the drink, which will allow access to the "Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 Combat Training Experience." Activision tells them this is an "exclusive, online event at Infinity Ward that will be an in depth look at Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 this November."

Planet 51 Online Announced

Zed develops an online gaming universe for PC based on the movie Planet 51 announces plans for Planet 51 Online, an upcoming free game to tie in with Planet 51, a CGI motion picture due in November 2009. Here are some screenshots, and here's a bit:
Planet 51 Online is based on the computer-generated animated movie Planet 51, a galactic sized alien comedy developed by Zed Group´s sister company Ilion Animation Studios. Planet 51 is scheduled for a wide cinematic release on November 20th, 2009, in the USA, and on November 27th in the rest of countries across 5 continents.

The game is an online virtual world, where you play for free, that allows players to become a part of and explore the Planet 51 universe, populated by other fans of the film connected via the internet.

Planet 51 Online creates an educational entertainment atmosphere where players can meet and chat with other fans online, complete quests and missions that are rewarded with special virtual items, and play fun games that require eye-and-hand coordination, memory skills and team work. The game will grow and evolve with the audience to improve its playing experience.

Champions Online Patched

A new automatic update for Champions Online rolled out this morning, reports Massively. The update did not go as smoothly as hoped, and they outline problems getting things running properly again, and the extensive list of changes the patch includes.

The Killing Floor Patched

A new automatic update for The Killing Floor is now available through Steam. The new version adds surround sound support for Vista, UPnP support for hosting Listen Servers, and an improved Map White Listing system to get maps onto the list faster. The new version also fixes exploits on each official map in Tripwire Interactive's co-op zombie shooter.

Assassin's Creed II Q&A: Prepare for Stealthy Sex

Assassin’s Creed II – your questions answered by director Benoit Lambert on VG247 asks the game director on the upcoming stealth/action sequel a bunch of reader-submitted questions. As they point out separately, one of the answers indicates there will be a little nookie along the way. "Ezio is a womaniser," is the reply to one reader's question. "There’s a bit of sex. I can’t say more." Also there's a new Assassin's Creed II customization interview trailer on

On AU Game Ratings reports on the ongoing efforts by some to add an adult rating to the video game classification system in Australia (where the highest current classification is for ages 15 and up), and the efforts by others to prevent such a change. Adding an R18+ rating to games like they have for movies requires an agreement from all of Australia's attorneys-general, but South Australian Attorney-General Michael Atkinson objects, saying, "It certainly does restrict choice to a small degree, but that is the price of keeping this material from children and vulnerable adults. In my view, the small sacrifice is worth it," the AG says. "People are participating and 'acting-out' violence and criminal behaviour when they are playing a video game." Thanks

Dragon Age: Origins Trailer

A new Dragon Age: Origins trailer on introduces the city of Denerim from BioWare's upcoming fantasy-themed RPG. Here's a bit of the city's description: "Denerim, the capital of Ferelden, began originally as an outpost of the ancient Tevinter Imperium. Its mages rose up a dark tower from the side of a mountain, a symbol of the Imperium’s power. As the Imperium faded, the tower passed to the hands of the teyrns that ruled the region for a millennium."

DDO Unlimited Trailer

The Ruins Of Threnal Featurette on promotes the new update available in Dungeons & Dragons Online: Eberron Unlimited, the now subscription-free MMORPG from Turbine.

On Sale

Evening Previews

Evening Screenshots

Into the Black

Link of the Day: Build Your Own DHS-Approved -Seasickness Weapon. Okay, you probably shouldn't build your own, but it makes a wild video. Thanks Neutronbeam.

Sins of a Solar Empire and Entrenchment Patched

Impulse Driven announces new patches for Sins of a Solar Empire and Sins of a Solar Empire: Entrenchment are automatically available through Impulse for registered customers. The patches update Sins to version 1.18 and its Entrenchment expansion to version 1.04, and this forum post has the quite extensive list of what's changed in the new versions. There is also an explanation of how the developers at Ironclad went undercover to play a bunch off games online against unsuspecting opponents to work out the numerous balance changes in the updates. There is also a warning that the patches invalidate existing saved games.

Gothic 3 Community Patch

A new version 1.73 patch for Gothic 3 is now available, continuing the unofficial support for Piranha Bytes' action/RPG. The patch is available from AtomicGamer and The Patches Scrolls. The patch notes on TPS offer what's new in both English and German, describing graphic improvements, new dialog, bug fixes, and more.

Neverending Islands Announced

Solipsism announces Neverending Islands, "an exploration game set in a dream-like open world" planned for release before the end of this year, offering a $5.00 discount and exclusive content to those who preorder. The game will include a large open world with over 100 islands to explore, hot air balloon travel, and accessible gameplay for all ages. Here is a batch of Neverending Islands screenshots showing the game's "whimsical graphics."

Heileen 2: The Hands of Fate Announced

Tycoon Games announces Heileen 2: The Hands of Fate, sequel to their "17th century visual novel" planned for release for Windows, MacOS, and Linux in November. Here are some Heileen 2 screenshots, and there's a teaser trailer for the game on the YouTube. Word is: "Like Tycoon Games' most recent game, Bionic Heart, the events of Heileen 2 rely heavily on the user's decisions. The final game will feature more than twelve unique endings and an enhanced version of the original quest system in Heileen."

Star Wars: The Old Republic Beta Signups Follow-up

The Star Wars: The Old Republic Blog Post has been updated a couple of times since beta applications for the upcoming Star Wars MMORPG were announced yesterday (thanks Ant). They describe the interest in the testing as "overwhelming" after "a humbling 24 hours," as they address the difficulties many have encountered attempting to register on their swamped website. They have bolstered the site, and hopefully it will be possible to get through now. For those experiencing other problems getting signed up, they have posted a forum thread with an ongoing list of solutions to known problems.

MechWarrior Movie Rumor

A report on Joystiq says a MechWarrior movie is "in development" at Michael Eisner's The Tornante Company, quoting that "source" guy who is responsible for so many rumors. They explain how the former Disney boss' new company got the rights to do this by acquiring Topps, who had previously acquired WizKids, who owned FASA. You may recall back in 2003 that there was news of preliminary plans for a MechWarrior movie involving Dean Devlin and creative input from Jordan Weisman, but presumably those plans died on the vine at some point.

Another Blood Bowl Patch

The Blood Bowl Website has word on the latest major update is now available for the fantasy-themed tackle football game. They say: "This update is necessary in order to be able to play online, thus we recommend you to let Blood Bowl update itself automatically next time you launch the game." The version patch can be found on this page along with complete patch notes. The patch is also mirrored on The Patches Scrolls.

Dead Space 2 in Preproduction

A LinkedIn help wanted ad from Visceral Games (spotted by superannuation, who else?) reveals that Dead Space 2 is in preproduction:
The previous installment in the Dead Space franchise received numerous awards for gameplay, visuals, and sound design, and the same core team is in place to create an even better follow up.

The game is in the later stages of pre-production, ready for production in the next few months, with many of the navigational and combat mechanics in place. We have complete autonomy and creative control over our own decisions. The Games Label at EA is 100% committed to this IP, and has already worked on IP extensions such as comic, animated features, and action figures.

Order of War MP Demo

The promised multiplayer demo for Order of War is now available, offering a sample of the recently released World War II real-time strategy game from Square Enix and The demo is available on FilePlanet, exclusive to their registered users. Back in 2003 plans for a Call of Duty demo exclusive to FilePlanet met with organized resistance from the community, but apparently times have changed enough that we are not seeing similar outcry this time around.

Battlefield Heroes Fall Update

The Battlefield Heroes Website announces the promised fall update for DICE's subscription-free online shooter is now live. The update has a bunch of tweaks and bug fixes along with a new map. They have the complete change log on Voodoo Extreme.

OnLive has Funding, Patents

OnLive has raised a third round of funding from AT&T Media Holdings and others as they gear up to launch their cloud-based gaming service, reports VentureBeat. The article offers an extensive recap of the goals of the service and its potential impact on the games industry should they achieve them, as well as an outline of the service's investors and competitors. Speaking of competitors, arguably the most interesting bit is at the very end, suggesting this funding is as much for patent litigation as OnLive's actual launch, which may or may not be this year: "Perlman said the company is filing for more patent protection and that proceeds from the funding will be used to bolster those efforts, as well as for the launch costs. OnLive already has more than 100 patents and patent applications pending. The company has more than 100 employees."

Strategic Command WW2 Pacific Theater Patch now offers a new patch for Strategic Command WW2 Pacific Theater, updating Furysoftware's World War II strategy game to version 1.03. The new version includes "dozens of improvements, fixes and enhancements to both the game engine as well as the editor - many based on feedback from the fan community forums and email." It also comes with a few warnings: The patch is for the English language version only, that previous saved games are not compatible with the new patch, and the patch is accompanied by an optional browser toolbar.

Supreme Ruler 2020 Patches

A new patch for Supreme Ruler 2020: Global Crisis is now available to update Battlegoat's strategy expansion to version 6.6.2, imbuing Global Crisis with all the new game engine features included with the Supreme Ruler 2020: Gold Edition. The patch notes have all the details, and the patch is available on AtomicGamer and The Patches Scrolls. Also, this page on the Battlegoat Forums has a direct link to a new version 6.6.2 patch for Supreme Ruler 2020: Gold Edition that's mirrored on AtomicGamer and The Patches Scrolls. Finally, a new version 5.6.2 patch for the original Supreme Ruler 2020 is now available on AtomicGamer and The Patches Scrolls.

Asgard Heroes Announced

Evolution Vault announces Asgard Heroes, which is an upcoming browser-based space strategy game with nothing to do with Norse mythology, in spite of what the name suggests. The game is being developed by the same team that created EV Online, which has nothing to do with CCP's MMORPG, in spite of what the name suggests (is there an echo in here?). No launch date is set, but you can sign up to receive an update on when the servers go live. Here's a bit on the game: "Far away in the galaxy, an alien species prepares intensively for a full-scale galactic war with unknown enemies. As a future Fleet Commander, your skills and limits are put to the test, by being willingly stranded on an abandoned colony. You have to rebuild the existing structures, research new technologies and challenge your other brothers, who apparently have the same task as you do: to prove themselves worthy."

Left 4 Dead Patched

Steam News has word that a new update is now available for Left 4 Dead, Valve's co-op Zombie shooter. The update has a couple of changes to game variables, and updates shared libraries and DLLs so dedicated servers will list correctly on Steam groups and can be found via sv_search_key.

KOTOR 2 Restored Content Beta

The Deadly Stream Forums offer an open beta for The Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic II - The Sith Lords Restored Content Project, which looks to complete KOTOR 2 with the unused content found on the original game discs for the RPG sequel. Thanks Mike Martinez via Eurogamer, where they also point the way to the more ambitious Knights of the Old Republic II - The Sith Lords Restoration Project, which is still in the works.

Game Reviews

Hardware Reviews


Thanks Ant.

Out of the Blue

I just came across a report that Pepsi is planning on bringing back its magnificent throwback Pepsi and Mountain Dew for eight weeks starting in December. I'm off the soda with my LPRD, but I may have to give in to temptation at that point.

Throwback Links: Thanks Ant and Mike Martinez.
Play: Growbox.
Links: NFL Games on
Pepsi To Cease Advertising.
If Video-Games Came With Warning Labels. Thanks Digg.
Stories: Man bites dog biting dog. I almost did that defending Huddy once.
Study Finds Women Wear Shoes That Cause Pain (registration required). Duh! Thanks Neutronbeam.
Science: How the Spaceship Got Its Shape.
Seti: The hunt for ET. Small moves, Ellie, small moves.
Robot Surrogates Don't Look Quite Like Bruce Willis Just Yet.
Images: Arcade Fail.
Spain’s First Family Or Addams Family?
Media: "AOTS Rap" (DJ Steve Porter Remix) ft. Olivia Munn & Friends.
Zork rock anthem.
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